It’s been five years since Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion. At the time the social media app had only 30 million users, which means it was an infant in the social networking world. But in August 2016 Forbes estimated that this rising star was worth as much as $50 billion and according to Instagram themselves, they have 400 million daily active users (DAU) and 600 million monthly active users (MAU).
5 Tips for Gaining Instagram Followers
Just as was the case with Facebook, businesses have taken note of the size of the Instagram audience as well as its potential as an effective social media marketing tool. Here are some tips to help businesses gain more Instagram followers on this fast-growing social network. It’s important to note that there are several things you should do to build up the momentum you need to get followers. It’s not going to happen overnight!
Make sure you have an Instagram Business Account
This may seem a little obvious, but many companies don’t know the difference, therefore they have yet to create one. The bottom line is if you don’t have the business account, you don’t have the access to the built-in analytics that are so important to your social media marketing strategy. You’ll be flying blind. How are you supposed to know what content is performing the best if you don’t know who is viewing what? If you don’t know what content is favored, you won’t be able to provide more of it to draw in more followers.
Have a Clear Content Strategy
You can’t send followers to your Instagram account until they have something worthwhile to look at. If you are new to Instagram, you should begin by creating a content strategy. If you already have an Instagram account but it’s not growing as quickly as you’d like, start by reviewing your content strategy to see if there is anything that needs to be adjusted.
If a business is posting content that is completely irrelevant to what they do (for example a barrage of fitness pictures if you sell all natural bath and body products), then viewers will start to think they’re very confused about their businesses and brand as a whole. Consumers don’t want to give their money to companies who don’t seem to have their act together on social media.
So how does a business develop a content strategy? A good place to start is by doing a little recon. In other words, by checking out what your competitors are putting on their Instagram accounts and seeing the amount of engagement they’re receiving on their posts. Think of it was a way to capitalize off their experience.
Take a lot of notes about the times of day they’re posting, the days of the week, how many times a day…as many details as you can. If you see something that seems to be working for them, it’s a great place to start for you.
For example, do they post a lot of videos that don’t get many comments or likes? What types of videos are they? It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid videos per se, it just means that the topic of the videos may not be of any interest to their audience. Do they use a lot of filters on their images and do these images seem to get more engagement? You don’t have to perform a scientific study, but if you notice that the company uses mostly the “Valencia” filter, there’s probably a reason for it outside of just looking pretty.
Once you have more information about the types of content that your target audience wants to see, create an editorial calendar to map out your strategy to stay on track. A super helpful feature of Metricool is that you can plan and schedule your posts ahead of time to ensure you’re posting to Instagram when your target audience is most likely to see your content.
Get and Stay Visible
Now that you’ve populated your Instagram account with some interesting and worthwhile content, promote the heck out of it! Add it to your email signatures and other social media account descriptions. Mention your account in posts on other social media networks with a call to action to “Follow Us on Instagram!” Some of your first Instagram followers should be people who follow you on other social media sites. After all, they’re your biggest fans.
If you have a bricks and mortar stores, post things with your username and invitations to follow you. You can also entice people to follow you by telling them the types of stuff they’ll see if they follow you. For example, if you’re a bakery you can say something like, “Follow us on Instagram to see more pictures and videos of our latest sweet creations!”
Another great way to get exposure is by liking and commenting on other people’s content. Just make sure they’re relevant comments because leaving a generic “nice pic” comment won’t entice anyone to click on your username to view your profile—and follow you.
Be sure you’re using hashtags! Instagram makes it easy for you; just start typing in your desired keyword and if it’s already been used as a hashtag, it’ll show up on the drop-down menu with the number of times it’s been used. This is a great way to source hashtags as well. You may have a couple in mind, but once you type them in and that drop-down menu appears, you may see other hashtags you want to add as well.
Run Contests for User-Generated Content
User-generated content is a great way to interact with your audience. People like free stuff so invite people to submit images or video showing them using your product (or at your bricks and mortar location) and have them tag you to be entered into a drawing to win something. You could also put up a sign in your place of business saying something like, “Let us know if you’d like to be featured on our Instagram page!” and then tag the individual in the post.
Purchase Instagram Ads
Running ads on Instagram is easier (and more budget-friendly) than ever now that you can create and run Instagram ads through Facebook’s Ad platform. Just be sure to select brand awareness or engagement as your objective as these are the ones that will get your ad in front of the people who are most likely to be interested in your product/service and follow your account.
What are some of your own best practices for getting more followers on Instagram?